Recent Fire Damage Posts

Lingering Smoke Smell or Visible Soot?

8/25/2021 (Permalink)

Fire with SERVPRO logo. Our highly trained professionals follow strict protocol and procedures when restoring the damage caused by fire.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Van Nuys will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting.

Emergency Fire Damage Tips

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

What you can do until help arrives:

After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

 What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

By calling SERVPRO of Van Nuys North, we can start the process of securing your home and valuables immediately. We can board up windows and doors, place temporary fencing and start water extraction or content manipulation immediately!

Tips to Put Out Fires in the Kitchen Safely

6/24/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Van Nuys North recognizes that over half of home fires start in the kitchen. Some kitchen fires start out small enough that you might be able to put them out easily. By being proactive, you can save yourself and others from fire and smoke injuries in your Charlottesville home. 

Remember that fire is fast. If you cannot contain a fire immediately, leave and bring everyone with you. Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

SERVPRO of Van Nuys North has these tips to offer for handling a small cooking fire:

    • If the fire is on the stovetop or in a pot, put a lid on the fire to smother the flames. Turn off the burner  
    • If a cloth on the stovetop is on fire, put a lid on the fire to smother the flames.  Turn off any burners  
  • Do not use water on a gas fire or a grease fire. Pot lids will smother a fire. You can also use (a lot of) baking soda. Pour a box of baking soda on the fire
  • If the fire is in the oven, turn off the heat. Close the oven door.    

IMPORTANT:

Never leave fire-fighting to chance. SERVPRO of Van Nuys North knows that objects can be replaced.  People and pets cannot.

Make a Plan to Escape from a Fire

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Human figures taking the stairs down. Don't wait until it's too late: make and practice a plan for your family to escape a fire.

Typically, we think of our homes as a refuge from the outside world and the dangers it can pose—but don’t let that allow you to become complacent about the hazards within your home. The last thing many homeowners expect is a devastating house fire.

Yet, recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that upwards of 365,000 house fires occur in the U.S. annually. These fires can destroy a home and take lives in just minutes. In fact, thanks to the materials that make up many of our home furnishings, like carpets and upholstery, today’s home fires burn much hotter and faster than fires of a couple of decades ago. The truth is you and your family may have less than five minutes to escape a house fire!

When a fire is raging, you may not be able to think quickly or clearly enough to get your family out safely. Having a fire evacuation plan can mean the difference between life and death, so create and put your plan into action now.

  • Plan for everyone in your home. Are there young children and elderly family members living in your home? They may have trouble moving quickly in an emergency, and heavy-sleeping kids may not even hear a smoke alarm. Assign an adult to help them get out quickly. Involve your kids in creating your plan and make sure they understand how important it is.
  • Identify two ways out of each room.  This will typically be a door and a window. Check to be sure the windows and doors open easily and are not blocked.
  • Select an outside meeting spot. Pick a location out front a safe distance from your house (a neighbor’s house, your mailbox or a street or stop sign) where you will meet and wait for fire professionals to arrive. Emphasize that no one can re-enter the house.
  • Diagram it. Create a map of your home and mark the exits from each room as well as the exit routes from the house. Also identify the outside meeting place and the locations of smoke detectors.
  • Share the plan. Review the plan with everyone in the household, and with visitors and overnight guests.
  • Practice the plan. Practice and review your escape plan at least once a year at different times of the day and night. 

If the planned exit routes are blocked and family members cannot escape, close all doors between you and the fire, place a towel under the door, call 911 and wait for help at an exterior window.

Summer Fire Safety

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Summer is the time of the year for outdoor parties and celebrations, but it also carries increased risk of house fires started by outdoor cooking, fire pits and campfires. Part 1 of this article will give you important safety guidelines for grilling food outdoors.

  • Gas grills cause almost 9,000 structure and outdoor fires each year in the U.S.
  • An average of more than 18,000 Americans are injured each year by grill fires.
  • 97 percent of grill fires occur between May and August.

General Grill Safety

  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors. This will minimize the risk of fire and exposure to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill several feet away from house siding and deck railings. Don’t locate it under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Keep children and pets from the grill area by creating a three-foot safety zone around the grill.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools. Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking on the grill.
  • Periodically clean out the grease or fat that has built up in trays below the grill.
  • Keep a bucket of water near your grill.

Charcoal Grills

  • At the start of grilling season, make sure your grill is clean and free of ash and grease.
  • Purchase the appropriate starter fluid and store it out of reach of children and away from heat sources. Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid after coals or kindling have been ignited.

Propane Gas Grills

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • At the start of grilling season, check the burners for clogs, make sure all hoses and connections are secure, and restock the propane if needed.
  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A soap and water solution applied to the hose will bubble up to reveal escaping propane. If you detect a leak, turn off the tank and grill. If you can stop the leak, don’t use the grill until you have it serviced by a professional. If the leak won’t stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Use only propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 with overfill protection devices (OPD).
  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages.

Can My Home Look Again Like It Did Before A Fire?

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damaged home Let SERVPRO get your Van Nuys home back on track after a fire damage.

Yes, If You Have SERVPRO Restoration Put Your Van Nuys North Home Back Together

Residential fires are usually limited when it comes to physical damage from the heat and flames. For most homes, the problems occur after the fire begins to cool, leaving smoke residues on nearly every surface in a home. 

Aren’t Residues Simple to Wipe Away?

Some are, but others take a more serious amount of time, tools, and even special cleaning agents. Fire restoration in Van Nuys North homes requires a well-trained, and well-equipped, response team. SERVPRO has some of the best-trained technicians in the restoration industry and access to a nation-wide network of equipment for returning your home to its pre-fire condition. 

What Determines How SERVPRO Cleans Residues from My Home?

There are four types of smoke residues; Dry, Wet, Protein, and Fuel Oil. Protein (food-based) is limited to the kitchen usually and Fuel Oil happens only in winter with homes heated by an oil-burning furnace. Below are the factors which determine the more common dry and wet types.

  • Type of Material burned in the fire.
  • Amount of Oxygen for combustion.
  • The Rate of Combustion. 

Natural materials (paper and cotton for example) leave dry residues. Synthetic materials (plastic and foam rubber) leave stickier residues. A hotter fire, rich in oxygen burns both drier and easier to remove. Cooler fires with reduced oxygen deposit wet residues that smear and become sticky once they cool off. 

How Do Technicians Remove Them?

SERVPRO team members can use soft brushes and dry sponges to wipe dry residues off surfaces. For very thick layers or wet residues, they can use stiff brushes and one of the cleaning agents designed for removing them. If either type of residue is on a rough surface like brick, concrete, or stone, technicians can also use a powered agitator for removal. 

Why We Are The Leader In Van Nuys After A Fire

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

How SERVPRO Technicians in Van Nuys Address Fire Damage

Any fire incident, big or small, usually sends smoke throughout the home. Whenever there is smoke, the soot and sticky residue gets left behind on various surfaces and permeates porous materials. Hiring the professionals for cleanup ensures you address all interior elements from your cabinets and lighting fixtures to the draperies and insulation, without forgetting glass and other surfaces. 

Something that we pay attention to at SERVPRO when addressing fire damage in Van Nuys is the patterns in which smoke moves throughout the home. Smoke not only drifts upwards, but it also moves via convection currents to colder portions of the structure. Concealed areas like your cabinets and cavities in the walls have cooler temperatures than the rest of your home, so this is where smoke residue often accumulates. 

Our trained SERVPRO technicians take the time to remove knobs and handles off of cabinetry to get into all crevices. We also take dry sponges to clean interior residues on unfinished wood. Whenever residue is left behind after dry sponging, we employ the use of denatured alcohol to help remove residue without pushing them further into the porous wood surface.

For cleaning ceilings, SERVPRO technicians inspect lighting fixtures to remove soot to inhibit corrosion. Our skilled team members also take precautions to avoid the potential for further damage. Electric circuit testers are used to avoid short-circuits, which can be dangerous. We also take the time to pretest with cleaning solutions to make sure that they do not damage finishes around your fixtures. All residues are thoroughly wiped behind and around all fixtures.

When soot and smoke residue make its way into your insulation, even though it may not hinder effectiveness, the foul odors still pose a problem. In most situations, it is more efficient and cost-effective to replace the insulation rather than cleaning it. Once we assess the insulation in your home, we may be able to solve the problem by replacing the first 3 to 4 inches. 

Once you suffer fire damage loss in your home, thorough cleaning using specialized methods, equipment, and products is the best way to go. We are available to assist when you call us at SERVPRO of Van Nuys North at (818) 951-6780. Our team is available 24 hours, 7 days a week for emergency service!

Call The Experts At Fire Damage Remediation

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

Home engulfed in flames. Our technicians arrive right away to begin your fire damage restoration. We are available 24/7 to prevent further damage so call us right away.

Crucial Stages when Restoring Fire Damage in Van Nuys

When fire razes any property, it leaves widespread destruction and therefore restoring your home to its preloss state after such an incident takes different steps. Some stages in the process are crucial to the outcome and therefore require keenness. Our professional fire damage restoration service can help resolve the crisis after such incidents eliminating traces of damage "Like it never even happened."

It is only possible to fix fire damage effectively if all types of damages are identified. Apart from charring and soot on surfaces, fire also leaves other types of damages, including seared materials, invisible smoke deposits, and residues that penetrate beyond the surface. We have IICRC certified FSRT, Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians at SERVPRO who carry out a wide range of checks. We check residue deposit patterns on surfaces starting close to the fire source. We also check the level of damage on items and separate them into categories of salvageable, unsalvageable, and questionable items.

Removing damaged materials from the affected areas helps create room for the restoration processes. Since flames affect building materials and contents as well, debris removal involves some level of tear down. The damaged materials also require proper containment; otherwise, they would scatter, complicating the disposal process. Our SERVPRO technicians have the skill to perform teardown without causing unnecessary damage. We also have waste bins and heavy-duty plastic bags to prevent unnecessary scattering.

The combination of residues from the combustion process, the water used to fight the fire and the shuffling of people in and out of a loss site leave it filthy. A thorough cleanup is, therefore, necessary for the home to be habitable. Our SERVPRO technicians use wet and dry methods to clean different materials. We also use specialized cleaning methods such as soda blasting which offers deodorization qualities and also helps restore charred surfaces without causing further damages.

Time to check those batteries!!

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke detector with smoke around. Maintaining your smoke detectors is how you'll be able to keep your family and home safe.

Spring is here and with everything going on in the world today a lot of us have forgotten a very important thing to check our smoke detectors. 

The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) states that smoke detectors should be checked monthly to ensure there are no malfunctions and that the batteries should be changed at least once or twice a year. Most people have found it easy to remember to do this when daylight savings time occurs. While you’re changing your clocks, go ahead and change your batteries in your smoke detectors. 

Make sure you check your smoke detectors users manual and if any of the following apply, then you may need to check your smoke detectors more often:

  • The detector gives a false alarm
  • The alarm emits a short beeps regularly without anyone touching it
  • Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may cause the batteries to deplete quicker

There are two types of smoke detectors:

  1. Battery-Powered- This type can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Doing monthly testing is critical to ensure that the detector is working properly.
  2. Hardwired- This type is powered by your home’s electrical system, but are known to have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. This type still requires a monthly test to help ensure that both the batteries and parts are working properly.

If your home isn’t equipped with smoke detectors, then please make sure you visit your local fire department. The fire departments in each community have access to fire safety equipment like smoke detectors and would be glad to make sure your family is safe.

Has Fire Affected you or a Loved One? How to Help

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

House on fire. SERVPRO® of Van Nuys North is the one to call when a fire disrupts your life. For it to be "Like it never even happened.®" call us at 818-951-6780

A house fire is devastating to the family that lives there.  If you’ve found yourself at a loss wondering how to help, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys North has some ways you can do just that:

  • The family will need new undergarments and socks.
  • Donate any clothing that you may not wear anymore to the family, including cold weather gear or any work attire that might be needed.
  • Hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, combs, toothbrushes, etc.
  • A homecooked meal for the family, as eating out can be expensive and become tiresome after a while.
  • If there are children, any toys and “busy” items to help distract them and uplift them would be welcome.
  • Invite them out for entertainment or in for a game night, as the small area of a temporary hotel can feel cramped at times.
  • Offer to help with their laundry, as they won’t have many clothes and will need to wash the ones they have more frequently.
  • If the family has an infant, they may need a crib, bassinet, diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, bottles, etc.
  • Pet food or cat litter might be needed as well.

Most important is to make sure that you provide emotional support, make yourself available to them, and do your best to alleviate any stress possible. A house fire is traumatic and stressful situation for the entire family and may be the worst time of their lives.

My Child is learning to cook, and all is not well

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

Cooking pan on fire. Does your kitchen look like this after a culinary adventure?

If you find yourself dealing with fire damage, the experienced team at SERVPRO® of Van Nuys North is ready to respond. We are locally owned and operated and are prepared to help with damage from fire and are able to respond quickly.

Immediate action and a fast response can limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. Our highly trained crews have the specialized equipment and resources to handle the job, large or small, residential and commercial. Our teams are prepared with strategically located equipment in case of fire emergency in our SFV area.

Choose SERVPRO® of Van Nuys North a local company that specializes in fire, water, and storm damage restoration. We are Here to Help® and ready to respond in the San Fernando Valley!

Time to check those batteries!

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Woosley Fire in Los Angeles. Maintaining your smoke detectors is how you'll be able to keep your family and home safe.

Summer is right around the corner and with everything going on in the world today a lot of us have forgotten a very important thing to check...our smoke detectors. 

The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) states that smoke detectors should be checked monthly to ensure there are no malfunctions and that the batteries should be changed at least once or twice a year. Most people have found it easy to remember to do this when daylight savings time occurs. While you’re changing your clocks, go ahead and change your batteries in your smoke detectors. 

Make sure you check your smoke detectors users manual and if any of the following apply, then you may need to check your smoke detectors more often:

  • The detector gives a false alarm
  • The alarm emits a short beeps regularly without anyone touching it
  • Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may cause the batteries to deplete quicker

There are two types of smoke detectors:

  1. Battery-Powered- This type can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Doing monthly testing is critical to ensure that the detector is working properly.
  2. Hardwired- This type is powered by your home’s electrical system, but are known to have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. This type still requires a monthly test to help ensure that both the batteries and parts are working properly.

If your home isn’t equipped with smoke detectors, then please make sure you visit your local fire department. The fire departments in each community have access to fire safety equipment like smoke detectors and would be glad to make sure your family is safe.

Preventing a Garage Fire

5/14/2020 (Permalink)

Post garage fire. This garage and all the contents included in it did not stand a chance in the fire. Call SERVPRO of Van Nuys North today!

Did you know that thousands of garages catch on fire each year in the United States? We didn't know either, so we wanted to educated others on this too. Unfortunately garage fires often lead to house fire, whether the garage is attached or not. Check out some of the tips below. We know not all fires are preventable, but we hope these are helpful to possibly prevent a garage fire! 

  1. Electrical Complications
    • Faulty Circuits
    • Overloaded Outlets
  2. Flammable Liquids (Can spark)
    • Gasoline
    • Paint
    • Paint thinner
    • oil 
  3. Propane Tanks
    • If not stored or sealed correctly 

Here at SERVPRO of Van Nuys North we would never wish a fire upon anyone, but as always, we are ready to serve someone in need. Give SERVPRO of Van Nuys North a call today at 818-951-6780.

Your Friends in the Fire Restoration Business

5/14/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with a kitchen fire on the stove. At SERVPRO of Van Nuys North we are your friends in the fire restoration business, and are here to help no matter what.

At SERVPRO of Van Nuys North when a phone call comes in after a house fire we know how serious the situation is. You go from being a caller on the other side to a part of our family. 

SERVPRO of Van Nuys North will come into your home and treat your items with the utmost respect and take care of your home like it is one of our own. 

We know that you have a thousand other things on your mind and the last thing you need to worry about is who can you trust with my items and who can I trust to care for my home. 

The techs at SERVPRO of Van Nuys North are trained in all things fire restoration. From cleaning the structure of your house to carefully packing up and cleaning your contents. 

We pride ourselves on the care we take during the entire fire restoration process form start to finish. 

No matter if it is smoke damage, a small kitchen fire, or a total loss let SERVPRO of Van Nuys North come into your house and make it "Like it never even happened."

Effects of Fire Damage

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Fire burning wood structure with a SERVPRO logo on the top right corner. Fire losses can be devastating in multiple ways.

A large fire in your Van Nuys home or office building can cause terrible problems. Even smaller or more moderate fires can be costly and destroy valuable materials and affect the structure’s integrity. Emergency crews come on the scene to eliminate the fire, mitigate fire damage and make sure everyone is safe. In the process of putting out the fire, however, additional damage from water can occur.

The Effects of the Fire

The thought of a fire starting in your office would probably be one of your biggest nightmares. This event would have the potential to bring your business to a halt. Consider the possible fire damage in.

  • Structural damage
  • Loss of electronic equipment
  • Ruined furniture, carpets and decor
  • Destroyed documents such as books, files and photographs

Firefighters’ Response

While witnessing a fire in your office can be agonizing, you can rely on the professional skill of fire crews to get things under control. Unfortunately, a fire hose sprays so much water to put out the fire that water damage can occur. This creates a whole new set of issues and may require the services of a professional restoration company. Excessive water can compromise flooring, walls and ceilings. You’ll have to keep an eye out for mold growth as well.

Other Concerns

Sometimes it is the flames you have to worry about but the smoke damage that can result. Smoke will leave a nasty layer of black soot in the area, which could ruin materials. It also leaves behind a strong odor that can linger for years if you don’t use effective remedies to get rid of it. Fire damage and water issues may not sound like common culprits in the same incident, but they can work hand in hand to wreak havoc in your building. Be prepared to call a disaster cleanup team immediately so you can resume your day-to-day work as soon as possible.

Top 6 Fire Damage Restoration Tips

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Van Nuys North Fire Damage Professionals 6 Tips from SERVPRO of Van Nuys North

We’re not going to kid you. Fire damage restoration is tough work. People call SERVPRO of Van Nuys North frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire. Here are six of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.

Most people can put these tips into practice. But remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring highly trained professionals who will guarantee their work.

  1. Remove Smoke Damage

With any fire you’ll have a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper, and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.

  1. Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps

Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep people’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

  1. Get Rid of Mold & Mildew

Firefighters are great. They save many a live and many a home. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO of Van Nuys North highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a nonprofessional to know for certain if he’s clean up all the areas affected by the mold and mildew. And mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.

  1. Replace Carpets. Clean And Dry Your Floors

Your floors and carpets end up absorbing the worst of the damage from all the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO of Van Nuys North recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood. You must address this. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under it. But you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.

  1. Avoid Smearing Soot Into Clothing

Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry. Removing smoke odor is another issue and we’ve covered it in another blog post.

  1. Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes

Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.

Post-Fire Damage Process

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Fires can cause devastating damages.

The damage incurred by a fire can vary significantly, from small stove fires to more destructive electrical fires. However, despite the level of damage there is likely going to be some level of fire restoration work required to re-establish the structural integrity of your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not understand the process of restoration work and can end up feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, to put your mind at ease think of the process in four phases.

1. Securing the Property

A large fire will have its share of both fire and smoke damage, but before either of those issues can be dealt with a restoration company will want to secure the property. Using fencing, plywood and tarps, these companies will make sure that your home is protected against further damage from the weather and other sources.

2. Removing Debris

Once the property is secure, the fire restoration team will begin removing debris from inside of the property. They will remove any excess water from the rescue efforts and make sure that the remaining structure is secure and redeemable.

3. Cleaning the Home

After all of the debris has been removed, the damage cleaning can begin. During this phase, the smoke residue will be cleaned, and deodorization will take place. Additionally, the restoration crew will likely discuss and plan the next step of work.

4. Restoring the Structure

Before the reconstruction process begins, a restoration specialist in the area will probably want to evaluate all plans with the homeowner, ensuring that all concerns are resolved before work begins. Once plans are approved, the construction team will take over and complete the restoration.

Fire restoration can be as simple as fixing some cabinetry and replacing appliances in a kitchen to a complete rebuild of a home. In either case, it is wise to have a professional handle the cleanout and rebuild, ensuring that you and your family remain safe.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Know what to do in the case of using your fire extinguisher.

Do you know where the closest fire extinguisher is in your home or place of work?! And more importantly, do you know how to use it? Both of these things are very important to know so you know what to do in case of an emergency and to keep you safe. Listed below are some tips on when to use a fire extinguisher during an emergency.

  1. The outside of the extinguisher is clean, and all parts are operable and not damaged or restricted
  2. You have identified an escape, and the fire is not between you and the route
  3. You have alerted other occupants, and someone has called the fire department
  4. You are safe from the toxic smoke produced by the fire
  5. The fire is contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket

These tips are good to know so you can safely use a fire extinguisher. It is also good to familiarize yourself with the location of the fire extinguisher in your home and workplace. Stay safe!

Preparing for Business Fires

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial fires shut businesses down.

A fire is never something you expect to happen in your building, however it is something that strikes commercial buildings daily. With that being said, it is important to make sure your employees/tenants are ready in case a fire happens to occur.

First, it is vital that you have an Emergency Ready Plan in place. This plan frameworks your employees’ responsibilities during any type of emergency – including a fire. Your Emergency Ready Plan should contain:

  • Escape route map: Print out a map of your building and highlight the primary and secondary exits, the routes accessible for those who might be disabled. And where to assemble once safely evacuated outside of the building. Point out where fire alarm pull stations are located, as well as fire extinguishers and any other key items that are important in any emergency.
  • Evacuation policies and procedures: This should outline evacuation routes, crowd control policies, how to assist people with disabilities and how to report fires.
  • Special Staff’ Responsibilities: Decide where to draw the line on instructing employees to use fire extinguisher (if fire is small and contained) or to evacuate immediately. Some commercial offices require designated staff to stay behind to shut down critical plant operations for example. Make sure these procedures are in place if necessary.

We must always be prepared in case fire strikes, but preventative measures are always the best to know, to help prevent a fire before it can even start.

  • Keep up with routine maintenance.
  • Make sure there is enough ventilation when utilizing any cleaning products.
  • Get rid of any card board boxes/pallets regularly as pile ups tend to happen. This is a breeding ground for fire.
  • Make sure all hallways and emergency exits are clear just in case an emergency strikes and evacuation is necessary.

In order for your employees to be well aware of fire procedures and policies, ensure they are put through the right training such as

  • Fire extinguisher training
  • Shut down procedures (may not apply to all)
  • Fire Drills

Six Steps of Fire Restoration

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Restoration - A Six-Step Process

The process of restoration fixes the damage caused by fires in a quick, efficient manner. SERVPRO follows the basic six steps.


Emergency Service
Professional fire restoration companies like SERVPRO are available for emergency service. In some instances, a fire may cause damage such as burn holes in the roof. In these cases, a restoration company can quickly come out to the property and secure the building from further damage.


Damage Assessment
The next step is to assess the damage caused by the fire. During this step, the  fire damage restoration company, like SERVPRO, will look to see the length the fire, smoke and soot traveled as well as the effect the fire had on the furniture and walls. The company can make an action plan and provide an accurate quote and time estimate.


Tarp and Sealing
Once restoration is underway, the company's main concern is to prevent further damage from happening, such as leaks due to holes in the wall or a burnt roof or a burst water tank or pipe. The company will quickly stop the source off the leak before water spreads to additional parts of the building.


Clean Up
After stopping any leaks, the restoration company will clear away dust, soot and smoke from surfaces as well as begin saving the property from water damage. The company will use submersible pumps to remove standing water. Then the area will be dried and sanitized. Carpets will be cleaned, and other measures taken to remove the odors caused by smoke. Finally, items that are beyond repair will be removed and replaced.


Renovation and Repairs
During the renovation and repair stage, the fire restoration company, like SERVPRO, will repair or replace cabinets, install new carpet, repaint walls, replace wallpaper and fix other damage in order to restore the property back to its original appearance. The company can also use this opportunity to improve the property, allowing it to look better than it did before the fire occurred.


Fire Prevention Debriefing
After the restoration process is complete, the company will offer ideas on preventing fires from happening in the future. If the fire were avoidable, the company could provide design advice and fire alert tools such as smoke detectors.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Van Nuys North is close by and ready to respond to your smoke or fire damage emergency. We are proud to be an active member of the Saginaw community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be.

Smoke and Soot

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Sunland/Tujunga will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(818)365-3736

House Fires

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

A little over one million home fires happen in a year. It is a very scary and realistic event that can take place at your home. Are you prepared for one? If not, you can contact SERVPRO and we can give you some pointers and handouts on how to prepare yourself and your family if this situation were to ever happen. It is a good idea to always be prepared and to make sure your family is aware of everything as well. Yes it might be a hard topic to talk about with your family members and your children but it is a good idea to have everyone aware of situations like a house fire. The youngest to the oldest should have prior knowledge and know how to react if a house fire strikes. Its never late to be prepared, start this preparation today.

When the fire blows out your windows.

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

This apartment building had one rough night! Due to an electrical shortage that caused a big fire to start in this one unit there was a ton of damage as you can see all the black soot and smoke on the outside of the building. This is a big job for the crew here at SERVPRO of Van Nuys North. There are steps they have to follow to restore this unit and the ones affected around it. 

It's important that you don't re-enter your home, or any surrounding structure, that's been affected by the fire until permitted by local building officials or the fire department. Not only can fires erupt again, but there's almost always hidden damage that could render the home unsafe. Open doors carefully, and don't force them open if they're jammed because you run the risk of further structural damage or collapse. Any remaining soot, debris, and dirty water could make you sick too, so use extra precaution when going back into your home, especially if you touch damaged items.

Wild fires are no problem for SERVPRO

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Summer is almost around the corner and in Southern California it gets extremely hot and wild fires strike instantly. With wild fires comes soot/ash damage to your house. SERVPRO of Van Nuys North has crews that are professionally trained to take care of your soot/ash damage. Having soot all over your home or when you turn your A/C on can be a complete headache, but if you call us at 818-365-3736, we can take that headache away from you instantly. We are well prepared for what the summer holds for us because we are familiar with the wild fires that take place every year. Always remember to call us if help is needed with any fire damage to your home. We will be more than happy to assist you with that.

Soot on books!

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Wildfires can create a lot of soot, smoke and ash. Soot is the one thing that is tough to see and a bother to clean. Most people might not realize the health hazards that come along after a fire, the soot and smoke can make it harder to breathe and see as well as cause headaches from inhaling the smoke. After the fire department puts the flames out you should always call SERVPRO of Van Nuys North to come put your home or business back together. 

In this case we had a local business damaged by the soot of the wildfire that happened not too long ago. A warehouse full of books, magazines and CD's were damaged but we were able to get in there and restore everything. We cleaned up shop and the customer was very satisfied with our job. 

Smoke and Soot cleanup

5/18/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Van Nuys north will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(818)365-3736

Preparing your Van Nuys Home or Business for Fire Season

8/9/2016 (Permalink)

Here are some things you can do to ‘harden’ your home and commercial building and make it more fire resistant.

 

Well, we’re at it again folks! Fire season has come blazin’ back this year and with the few that have crept up a little too close for comfort, we wanted to jump in and do our part to help ready our online community with some helpful pointers. That way, you can be rest assured in knowing that you’re ‘as prepared as possible’ to weather the next wildfire that breaks out.   

As a Fire & Water Restoration Company who works in people’s homes and office’s following wildfire damage, we hear all the time, “If I had only been prepared…” or “I never would have thought this would happen to me.” We wanted to pass along some practical preventive tips we picked up from The National Interagency Fire Center, a frontrunner in wildfire preparation.

  1. Use Fire Resistant Building Material - "The Best Thing 
    That You Can Do"

The roof and exterior structure of your dwelling should be constructed of non-combustible or fire resistant materials such as fire resistant roofing materials, tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone. Wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, and other highly combustible materials should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.

  1. Maintain a Survivable Space - "Things You Can Do Today"

  • Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needles, leaves, branches, etc., regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.

  • Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.

  • Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch.

  • Landscape vegetation should be spaced so that fire cannot be carried to the structure or surrounding vegetation.

  • Remove branches from trees to height of 15 feet.

  • A fuel break should be maintained around all structures.

  • Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.

  • Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.

  • Propane tanks should be far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation.

  • All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures.

  • Garden hose should be connected to outlet.

  • Addressing should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.

  • All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.

  • Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and bucket for water.

  • Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.

To learn more on the topic of Fire Preparedness and Prevention in California, visit the Cal Fire’s website for further resources –

http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Hardening-Your-Home/

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams are Standing By to assist after The Sand Fire

7/29/2016 (Permalink)

A few simple steps could help minimize secondary soot and smoke damages

Los Angeles firefighters have nearly contained 85% the Sand Fire in the Santa Clarita Valley, but not before flames consumed over 38,000 acres, damaging dozens of homes, commercial buildings and natural landscape. SERVPRO of Van Nuys is connected to a network of SERVPRO professionals called the Disaster Recovery Team to aid victims of smoke and soot damage within the affected areas. Though personal safety is always the primary concern in these situations, the first several days after the fire is controlled are critical to preventing secondary damages from smoke and soot. Once the local authorities say it is safe to return to your home and/or business, SERVPRO of Van Nuys would like to offer the following steps to help minimize additional harmful effects.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpet.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.     
  • DON’T:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. They may have been contaminated.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
  • Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been extinguished. From the structure itself to the contents inside, SERVPRO of Van Nuys uses the latest technology and training to leave your property smelling fresh and clean.

    To find more up-to-date notices of how the fire’s being handled, you can visit http://www.fire.lacounty.gov/home/home-alt/

    So what exactly is Soot/Smoke Damage?

    6/14/2016 (Permalink)

    Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

    Smoke and soot facts:

    ·         Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.

    ·         Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.

    ·         The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

    Different Types of Smoke

    There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Van Nuys will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

    Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

    ·         Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

    Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

    ·         Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

    Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

    ·         Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

    Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

    Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

    Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
    Call Us Today – (818) 842-1400